Only in Galápagos!
The amazing giant Tortoises
The Galápagos Islands owe their name to these beautiful rare creatures because when explorers first arrive in the islands they were calling them galapago a Spanish word for saddle that resembles the form of their shells.
The Galápagos Giant Tortoises live only on these islands and are the largest tortoises in the world.
These precious animals almost got extinct in 2012 due to the increasing introduction of non-native animals into the islands like rats, goats, pigs eating their eggs and humans using them for food and oil. But thankfully the efforts done by the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation brought some hope and currently they are very well preserved and people are more educated about their importance with 14 species living in the islands.
Very impressive facts
- They can survive without food or water up to 1 year
- The oldest recorded tortoise had 152 years
- They can reach up to 250 kg and grow to 1.5 meters tall
- These tortoises are herbivorous and like to eat grass, cactus and fruits
- 16 hours of their day is nap time
- Their walking speed is 0.3 km/h
Visit to Reserva El Chato – Santa Cruz island
When I was younger I learned about this fantastic giant tortoise The Lonesome George, the islands most famous tortoise that lived for almost 100 years. So, as soon as I arrive in Santa Cruz island all I had in my mind was these giants’ tortoises as I was so curious to see them in real life!
We went up the island to Reserva El Chato which is a ranch with a very large area and the tortoises are free to walk in their natural environment but still protected from harm. As we were driving there we could already see some tortoises cuddling up with some cows – I was impressed already!
The admission fee to the ranch is 3$ and then you can just stay as much as you want. You can walk around the animals but always keep a distance of about 2 meters…remember you are in a protected area. I loved just sitting there and look at them…live goes slowly, appreciate the simple thing!